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My parents are taking us camping. We always have to buy those expensive fire starter logs. I had the idea to save our dryer lint and stuff it inside our empty toilet paper rolls. It's free and you never run out of it. It is very easy to catch on fire. We've tried it before and it lights up like a torch.
While wax is melting, fill paper cups with sawdust. At this time, if essential oil is being used, add one drop into each cup of sawdust.
Pour melted wax in paper cups, just enough to cover the sawdust. Use a spoon to push down floating sawdust if you wish. You can fill wax to top, but I prefer more sawdust. Allow to cool and harden. Package as you like: ribbons, basket etc.
To use: Place 1-3 in the kindling/logs in fireplace
Hint: The thrifty way to find wax is to use old candles or check your local dollar store for the biggest candle they have! The two jars shown in the pot are half spent candles from the dollar store: already colored and scented like cinnamon! When wax is melted, use a fork to scoop out the wick and base, these can be saved for making homemade candles later;-)
By Starchild in VT
Two things we have an abundance of at our house: junk mail and dryer lint. I stuff the return envelopes from the junk mail with the dryer lint and seal it. When we use the fireplace, we put the wood on top of the envelope and light it. The paper catches right away and the dryer lint burns long enough to catch the wood. :)
Use your wine corks for cheap fire starters. Just add a little alcohol on the cork. It works well.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Editor's Note: Be sure it is a natural cork, not the newer plastic foam corks that are often used instead.
We burn wood, and fire starters are not cheap. My husband laughs at me for some of my cheap ideas, but they work! I use the below in addition to the twigs and leaves and bark that are in the wood pile.
I save dryer lint and stuff it into empty TP or paper towel rolls and use it to start a fire.
Save empty butter wrappers (I first use them to grease cake pans). Store in a bag in the freezer until needed.
Save paper towels that are used to clean up greasy pans or messes as above, store in a bag in the freezer until needed.
By April from NW, MO
We shred our excess paper and use it as a fire starter.
Cut lid off the carton. Melt the candles and crayons on low heat. With hand protection, pour 1 inch of wax mix into the whole egg carton. Before it hardens, add the pine cones, fruit, spices, spruce sprigs, and such.
Make Christmas gifts by recycling egg cartons and dryer lint! Using a cardboard one-dozen egg carton, fill each hole generously with dryer lint. Using melted scented candles purchased at a yard sale, pour hot wax into each hole, filling 2/3-3/4 full.
I liked the many suggestions for using paper towel and toilet paper rolls. My problem was that I didn't have a good way to stuff the rolls and pour/dip them in wax. Then I remembered my camp craft class where we made paper baskets (this was a looong time ago!).
We are avid campers. Instead of buying those expensive fire starters, we make our own. Take a cardboard egg carton, fill each cup with dryer lint, melt old candle leftovers and pour into the cups over the lint.
I found this tip at make-stuff.com, it is a great site. "Fill an empty roll with dried leaves in the fall. Wrap it with newspaper, 4 inches longer than the roll, and twist the ends of the paper, for easy lighting. If you wrap them with decorative paper and put them in a basket they make a nice accessory to a fire place. They can also be covered with Christmas wrapping paper for the holidays." By Racer
My son used to be in Boy Scouts and they loved to make a fire at night during the summer. For fire starters, we took the cardboard from toilet paper and taped one end shut. Then he filled the tube up with dryer lint and taped the end shut.
Put that stale bag of Fritos to good use. Start a campfire with them.
Use cardboard egg cartons with stubs of birthday candles in the pockets. Tear off a few pockets, put a few candle stubs in the pockets, and build your fire OVER the egg carton pieces.
I use dryer lint in a cardboard egg carton and drizzle old candle wax from scented candles that have lost their fragrance. Once it has cooled, I cut the sections of egg cradles to separate and put in a ziplock to keep dry.
Get a jar that closes with a rubber seal. Put in corks from wine bottles, etc, then fill the rest of the way with denatured alcohol.
Save the lint from the dryer in a plastic container. In the winter months when the wood for the fire gets a little damp, use the lint under the kindling to get it started. Works great!
Recycle used toilet and kitchen rolls, fill with newspapers.
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There are lots of pine cones lying around on the ground at the moment. Use them to make free and very effective firelighters to light your woodburner or open fire. I soak them in used cooking oil to make them work even better. They smell great too.
By Mrs. Christmas from Slovenia EU
We use ours for camping.
Does anyone know how long a cork fire starter burns for?
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What happens to your shredded material at home or the office? I take them on camping trips! The paper shreds are a perfect fire starter. Sprinkle them in the pit, add wood, then sprinkle more on top. They make it very easy to get the fire going and it adds to the purpose of "shredding" for sure. Not to mention, re-purposing your shredded paper as a fire starter keeps it out of the landfill.
By Lori from Greenwood, MO
I like the basic idea - I'd be more comfortable with making the shreds into less "blowable" fire starters, I think. I am going to try stuffing shreds into a toilet paper tube, AND I'm going to try putting some shreds in a cardboard egg carton with some melted paraffin wax poured over the top... (06/15/2010)
Keep your paper towel rolls and toilet tissue rolls and stuff them with your shredded paper and use them for fire starters in camp fires. Little of the fire starter on the roll and you are ready to go. (06/15/2010)
Does anyone remember the directions for making homemade pine cone fire starters? I used to have one that made the fire burn different colors. Thanks in advance.
By dollyddg from Lynn, MA
This site has instructions for water based fire starters. The pine cones are soaked in different chemicals to produce colors when burned. Please make sure to read the safety concerns at the bottom of the page!
Instead of buying those fire starters, make your own out of empty wine boxes. I fill with little pieces of paper and poke holes in both sides, and light up!
I would like to know how to make a homemade fire log starter.
By Susan from New Smyrna, FL
One thing we have done is to take wood chips about 2x2 inches and soak them in used oil or kerosene. Soak for 1 week then take out let dry and store in a 5 gallon bucket use a few to get a fire going.
Another thing is take newspaper and soak in water then wad it up, or get a press to press the water out and form into a brick. Let dry then keep stored and use when needed. (01/10/2010)
There are lots and lots of ideas in the ThriftyFun archives below. Be sure to read them all but steer clear of using dryer lint or plastic egg crates because of lung dangers due to the burning toxins :-) (01/13/2010)
My husband has made fire starters for our wood burning stove by taking saw dust and wax from old candles and adding them together in egg shell cartons. Then he broke them a part in individual parts. When he wants to get the fire going, he puts one in with the wood and lights the egg carton. Works every time.
By Tiggerinoregon from Fairview, OR
Be sure to use cardboard egg cartons, "not" Styrofoam. (11/21/2009)
A basket of pine cone fire starters is a wonderful gift to make. It is fairly inexpensive and I have fun making them every year. Carefully melt paraffin or old candle ends in a double boiler and use tongs to dip your pine cones. I sprinkle some of them with glitter and leave some without then set each dipped cone on wax paper to dry.
I pick up very inexpensive baskets and containers at sales all year long. I also get candles at these sales for change, it does not matter if they have already been partially used. If you do not have a few baskets and containers on hand, save this tip for next year.
Source: A friend gave us a basket of fire starters many years ago and she shared with me how to do them. Enjoy.
By Bobbie G from Rockwall
Fire starters for camping are easy to make with things you have around the house. All you need is a paper egg carton, dryer lint and wax.
Save lint from dryer, "cardboard" egg cartons (not the styrofoam ones) and old candle pieces or crayons. Put lint in each egg cup.